Let’s talk about a common accompaniment to menopause: thrush. As the mucus in your vagina subsides, the acidity levels may well decline too - leading to vaginal dryness and leaving you at risk of getting bacterial infections and inflammations of the vagina like thrush. (It’s also worth noting that yeast infections aren’t necessarily as common after menopause but they can still be held responsible for conditions such as vaginitis. Tell a friend.) 👀
What is thrush and why am I getting it during the menopause?
To put it simply, vaginal thrush, also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis or genital thrush, is an inflammation of the vagina and/ or vulva (the outside of the vagina) caused by a fungal infection. The vast majority (up to 92%) of cases of vaginal thrush are caused by Candida yeast and some people are more predisposed to getting thrush or have risk factors that make them susceptible. If you’re taking hormone replacement therapy, commonly known as (HRT), could be contributing factor as oestrogen, a key element of HRT can make cells more susceptible to glycogen growth, which can lead to the growth of the candida fungus.
Are yeast infections a common side effect of menopause?
Good question! There is definitely a connection between recurrent infections and menopause and this is due to change within the vagina: menopause means that the estrogen content of your vaginal tissue will decrease, leading to atrophy, also known as thinning of tissue and vaginal dryness. This environment unfortunately more welcoming to an overgrowth of yeast. Find out more about thrush with Dr HANX here.
How do I know if I have thrush?
Well, common symptoms of vaginal thrush include itching of the vulva, soreness of your vulva, vaginal discharge that is thick and white (commonly described as looking like cottage cheese), pain when you pee and pain during sex. However, around one-fifth of women of reproductive age may have thrush but no clinical symptoms, and therefore do not require treatment. However, in these women, when there is a change in vaginal pH or sex hormones in the body, Candida yeast can multiply and eventually lead to symptoms. If unsure of any menopause symptoms, we recommend you consult your GP as conditions such as recurring vaginal bacterial infections and diabetes or can both be contributing factors.
What can I do to get rid of thrush during menopause?
You can treat vaginal thrush with an antifungal treatment, as seen in our HANX Fix service. The choice and formulation depends on individual factors and the patient’s preference. This can include a pessary which is a tablet inserted into the vagina, a capsule that is swallowed, and an anti-fungal cream. Mostly, an initial treatment with an anti-fungal pessary or anti-fungal orally will clear the infection.
While we’re here, vaginal itching and vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Experiencing pain or discomfort during sex? We recommend you reach for a gentle, water-based and pH-balanced lubricant to ease things along. HANX Lubricant is vegan, made from just seven natural ingredients and developed to be as close to the real thing as possible - shop now.
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